Written by JASON NAJUM
Baja California evokes a rugged, wild west kind of adventure. Stretching some 760 miles south from the US border, this Mexican peninsula is a land of compelling contrasts.
It's a dry, mostly desert geography with hidden enclaves of lush vineyards, jagged mountains and solemn cactus forests bordered by crystalline waters and wide sandy beaches.
Baja is at once a sparsely-populated no man’s land, and home to thousands of species of marine life and millions of vacationers. Here's what you need to know for the best Baja California road trip.
STATE OF BAJA
The Free and
Estado Libre y Soberano de Baja California, the aptly grandiose official name of Baja’s northern state.
Removed from the Mexican mainland, Baja California has evolved its own distinct aesthetic and culture.
From low-key towns with just the right amount of civilization to unmarked dusty roads awaiting exploration, Baja has a charm that keeps those who know coming back for more.
The peninsula is divided into two states: Baja California in the north and Baja California Sur below the 28th parallel.
The infamous border town has finally grown into its own. A growing middle-class and burgeoning cultural scene has helped turn this former hedonism destination into a city with its own identity.
With an international airport, a solid bus system and many rental car options – along with its proximity to major US cities like San Diego and LA – Tijuana is the most convenient starting point.
But first, take a moment to get to know TJ (its local nickname).
Stroll down Av Revolucion for Mexican nightlife options like Las Pulgas, sample local craft beers at Norte Brewing Co, and chow down on tacos or seafood at one of the city’s many street vendors.
Beyond the tourist trinkets and margarita-callers near the border, Tijuana has a vibrant food and culture scene worth exploring.